Praveen Sattaru has probably delivered one of the best Telugu action thrillers to be ever made, raising a bar that was quite low.

PSV Garuda Vega review A surprisingly taut edge of the seat thrillerScreengrab
Flix Entertainment Friday, November 03, 2017 - 16:27

The curtains rise on a high-octane chase scene on the cobbled, twisted roads of Darjeeling.  You wonder if you are watching the trailer of a Hollywood flick. But, it isn’t. That is immediately followed by a couple of covert operations interspersed with a bickering husband and wife – a minute distraction – before the action takes you again to an assassination plot.

Before you realise, you are facing a series of thrilling sequences – an old lady shot dead, sniper guns, hand-to-hand combat, and a mystery hunt. And NIA officer Shekhar (Dr Rajashekhar) reluctantly finds himself in the middle of a jigsaw puzzle that involves a hacker, Niranjan (Adith Arun), classified files, and an enigmatic case.

With PSV Garuda Vega, Praveen Sattaru has probably delivered one of the best Telugu action thrillers to be ever made, raising a bar that was quite low. While the needless makeup on Shekhar’s face – as he tries to coax his wife Swathi (Pooja Kumar of Vishwaroopam fame) back into the almost-broken marriage is a distraction, and makes you wonder if this is just another run-of-the-mill movie, PSV Garuda Vega sheds its inhibitions and comes into its own.

Shekhar, a bad husband but a brilliant secret-service officer, wants to quit his job. But he gets drawn into an old lady’s murder - a murder which is only the tip of an iceberg – the country’s biggest scam ever. Shekhar and his team (Charandeep and Ravi Verma) efficiently piece the evidence and follow the trail. A bomb-threat, averted in the nick of the moment, raises more tantalising questions pointing to a billion-dollar scam.

The Shraddha Das cameo here is a reflection on the rest of the movie – efficient.

There are several aspects of this movie that are creditworthy, small but clever details. Its references are obvious – a highway accident involves a truck that looks like one out of Transformers. You don’t generally see this in Indian movies. A shot after that sees Shekhar and the hacker trying to escape underwater,  and reminds you of the scene from Italian Job. Once Shekhar understands what Niranjan has and why he is such a high value target, their chemistry starts reminding you of the Bruce Willis-Justin Long equation in Live Free or Die Hard. Beyond these inspired bits, the movie is refreshing, and continues to race along.

A Sunny Leone item song almost brings the speeding screenplay to a screeching halt – why do our moviemakers do that, why underestimate the audience with titillating bits like this?

But the song ends with gunfire that takes us to quite an impressive climax. Yes, a few good action scenes and shootouts could have elevated the already impressive montage but with Dr Rajashekhar as the lead, the movie-makers really had clarity on what they were going for – a thinking middle-aged man rather than a young, alpha male. Maybe, they could have made Shekhar a little cynical, sarcastic, but that is perhaps asking for too much.

The movie ends in the middle of the Indian Ocean – the antagonist trying to outsmart our veteran of many operations and getting it back in kind – and that is where Sattaru wins your heart. No fist fights, no punch dialogues, no ego-boosting pills. Couple of smart-alec tricks and a neat solution to deal with an impossible situation – Sattaru shows how it should be done.

What’s most endearing about PSV Garuda Vega to this audience is that it does not feature any one-man-bashes-a-dozen fights. The movie also sacrifices slapstick comedy for Marvel Universe-style witty dialogues and scenes. Shout-out to the impressive OST by Sricharan and Bheems.

PSV Garuda Vega’s biggest charade is in its name – it has barely anything to do with the script.

Should we complain about that or about the choice of lead actor? However, the filmmakers have done a good job overall. The audacious, refreshing cinematography - with drone cameras that give a bird’s eye view, and crazy angles; the crisp, efficient editing, the decision to do away with needlessly schmaltzy songs and family-scenes, minimal dialogues, and a plot that uses high-tech escape routes rather than hero-muscle saving the day. All brilliant decisions. Definitely, a must watch!

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